Delia plopped down on a stool in front of my work table. Nadia sat on the polished cement floor and flipped through a sketchbook. Zion was beside Delia at the work table. She ran the bristles of one of my paint brushes over her arm.
“Long day?” I kept my eyes on my painting. I should have told them to leave. I was at the early stages of the piece. The underpainting. I had to focus. But I loved them. And there was something that happened when we were all together. Not for brunch, a business meeting, or to solve a problem, just us, together. There was an energy that moved through the room, through me, that was different than anything I felt before.
Delia sighed. “I’m tired of sitting in bars to find clients. The bartenders are fine. I’ve paid them enough. But the whispering. Like, yes, bitch, I suck dick for money. I can also pay all of my own bills and buy more clothing than I need.”
The sweep of the brush over Zion’s arm slowed. “I wondered if you realized how much clothing you have.”
“As the person that organized your closet, can I just say that you don’t want no smoke?” Delia picked up one of my crayons and a scrap piece of paper, shrugged, and began to move the crayon over the paper. “It’s exhausting. There’s got to be a better system.”
“There’s the internet,” I said.
Delia snorted then broke into a laughter that became so high pitched I looked over my shoulder at her.
“What?” Nadia said. “There are good men online, right?”
“Defects use the internet,” Delia said.
“Hey!” Nadia said. “I resent that. I’ve used the internet to find dates.”
“Because I was busy with work. I couldn’t go out and meet someone,” Nadia said.
“Way to prove my point. Your life is so busy you can’t go outside and sit at a bar and have a drink, but it’s not so busy that you can’t take the time to get to know a brand new person and commit to spending time with them regularly? See how that doesn’t make sense?”
Nadia ran her fingers over the pages of sketchbook. I could have told her she would have charcoal smeared over her fingers, but I was having trouble with perspective.
“I was busy,” Nadia said.
“The love of your life could be on Tinder right now,” Nadia said.
“He should be. He deserves some low quality pussy while he’s getting rich enough to afford me,” Delia said.
I didn’t laugh, really. I shouted. “Is the love of your life on Tinder?”
Delia shrugged. “If he is it’s just proof he’s not ready for me. All these girls going into full blown marriages with some dude they met on the internet? Ordinary.”
“What’s wrong with that?” Nadia said.
“Ordinary? Nothing. It’s just a lack of expectations. But the men that are emotionally aware, got coins, got some sense? They don’t have to deal with the BS of the internet. Will the person show up for the date? Will they catfish me? Will they be crazy and tweeze their armpits at the table? They don’t have to deal with that. They just go outside and approach or get approached by the kind of high quality woman they want.”
“Delia is not wrong.” Zion switched brushes. “There is a certain kind of man that prefers online interactions. There is another that does most of his interacting away from his technology. We all know which type of man has led to longer more profitable relationships.”
“I’m not a defect.” Nadia looked at her hands and sighed in disgust.